Thursday, June 16, 2011

How AIIMS, JNU keep out deserving OBC students

and Charu Sudan Kasturi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 27, 2010
First Published: 00:27 IST(27/9/2010)
Last Updated: 07:19 IST(27/9/2010)
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Two premier higher education institutes, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), have been accused of discriminating against students from the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category during admissions. Kailash Mundhe, an OBC candidate, scored higher i 
n this year’s entrance test, than the lowest scoring candidate in the general category admitted to AIIMS’s postgraduate course in dental surgery.
He got 91.48 per cent, while the lowest scorer had 91.1 per cent. Yet Mundhe was denied admission. How was this possible? It was because the AIIMS authorities have interpreted the government’s reservation policy to mean OBC students can be allotted only those seats reserved for them.
Given the extremely limited number of seats at AIIMS, there was only one seat in the postgraduate dental surgery course that was set apart for OBCs. Another OBC candidate, whose marks were even higher than Mundhe’s, got the sole seat.
“My percentage is higher than the last candidate selected in the general category,” Mundhe has complained in a letter to AIIMS director R. C. Deka. “I have not been allowed to opt for admission under the general category.” Deka was not available for comment.
Though this contravenes a Supreme Court judgment which says quotas in educational institutions are aimed at ensuring minimum opportunities for members of deprived communities, and that reserved category students should be eligible for general category seats if their marks qualify them to do so, AIIMS continues to bar reserved category students  — be they OBCs, scheduled castes (SCs) or scheduled tribes (STs) — from general seats in postgraduate courses.
A Prime Minister-appointed panel headed by UGC Chairman S.K. Thorat had criticised AIIMS for this practice in 2007, but the institution has persisted with it.
Similarly, in end August, the Delhi High Court ruled against JNU for linking OBC admissions to the cut-offs for general category students.
The university has a rule by which the difference between the qualifying marks of candidates admitted to seats reserved for OBCs, and that of the lowest scoring general category candidate should not be more than 10 per cent.
Thus if the cut off mark for general candidates is 65 per cent, no OBC candidate who has scored less than 55 per cent will be admitted, even if quota seats go vacant.
Against a quota of 27 per cent seats for OBCs, JNU has admitted only 15.9 per cent. It is set to contest the high court decision in Supreme Court.

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